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Water safe to consume, despite discolouration


Yass Valley Council would like to reiterate that the water supply is safe to consume, despite ongoing discolouration, caused by the oxidization of naturally occurring elements in the Yass water catchment.

At this point in time Council are unable to put an exact timeframe on when the discoloured water will fully make its way through the water network. Staff are continuing to monitor the situation and flush the system to assist with moving the discoloured water through the system. Council wants to reassure residents that everything is being done to improve the water discolouration issue.

“The Yass water supply is affected by geological (increased manganese and iron concentrations) and climatic conditions which surround the catchment area,” said Director Engineering, Stan Robb. “The recent escalated discolouration has been a result of a series of events, all occurring at the same time.”

The prolonged dry weather, followed by heavy rainfall in mid-December and a period of very hot weather increased manganese and iron concentrations in Yass Dam. Council also experienced a failure of equipment at the Yass Water Treatment Plant on 26 December 2018, which caused an imbalance in the delicate chemical reactions used to treat water from the Yass Dam.

“Council has publicly reported our water quality results since 2014, with our water supply tested daily,” continued Mr Robb. “NSW Health also conducts monthly, independent testing of the water supply. The most recent sample tested on 2nd January 2019 shows that the water continues to comply with the health criteria of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.”

Water quality results can be found on Council’s website:

“Staff are continuing to seek State and Federal Government funding to assist in a long term solution to improve the quality of water available in Yass and surrounding areas,” said Yass Valley Mayor, Rowena Abbey. “We will need approximately $11m to fix the current water treatment plant, but we are competing for funding with rural and regional communities who don’t even have water, so the money is not easy to come by.”

In December 2018 Council accepted a grant of $1.2m from the Housing Acceleration Fund under the Restart NSW (NSW Government) to prepare a detailed design and final business case for improvements to the Yass Water Treatment Plant. Upon completion of the final business case (2019/2020) and its acceptance by Restart NSW, a second application will be necessary to seek remaining funding for any construction works.

What can residents do to minimise discolouration:

  • If your water becomes more discoloured, please ensure you report this directly to Council by calling our Customer Service team – 6226 1477. This will allow water staff to investigate further and know exactly where the increased discolouration is occurring.
  • Residents with older, galvanised internal pipes in their houses may experience longer or more frequent periods of discolouration as these pipes react with the water, releasing sediment build-up within these pipes. The installation of a filter, if you have galvanised pipes within your house, may assist with the removal of discolouration caused by your pipes. 

Yass Valley media contact:
Gill Elphinston
Media & Communications Coordinator
02 6226 9232

19 February 2019

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